No-Budget Nightmares: Hip Hop Locos (2001)

HIP HOP LOCOS is a terrible, terrible movie. In fact, I’ll be as bold as to say that it might very well be one of the worst movies ever made.

I know bad. You know bad. If you’re reading this, then you probably have seen the usual bad-movie subjects. This isn’t PLAN 9 FROM OUTER SPACE, or THE ROOM, or MANOS: THE HANDS OF FATE. It’s not BIRDEMIC, or ZOMBIE NIGHTMARE. No, we’re talking about another level entirely. I have a high tolerance for low (or no) production values, amateurish acting, and non-existent special effects, but this one stole something from me. Something that I’ll never, ever be able to recover.

I generally take this sort of thing in stride because I love genre films, and I get excited watching young filmmakers try to pull something together with little more than a few friends and a can-do attitude (and a DV camera). However there’s always the possibility that I might run into something that even my sympathetic nature can’t tolerate, that can’t even be properly laughed at because it crosses the line from badness to being just plain irritating. I’m wracking my brain for even one redeemable thing about the film, and the only thing that comes to mind is that at 70 minutes, at least it’s mercifully short. Cold comfort for anyone who even considers watching this abomination.

Unodoz and J10 (played by Unodoz and J10) are a couple of young Latino gangbangers who come up with a plan to set their hip hop careers in motion: kill a bunch of drug dealers + sell the stolen drugs + ? = PROFIT! They jump to action by talking at the camera, then driving around, smoking pot, talking to the camera, calling someone on a pay-phone, talking at the camera and then occasionally stabbing someone. They follow the stabbing with more talking at the camera, usually about how great it was to stab that person, and how they want to drive around, call someone, and then stab someone else. Rinse and repeat, and throw in some awful video and vocal effects for good (bad) measure. There is literally five minutes of plot stretched with endless, seemingly improvised dialogue (Homes.. Homes… Homes homes homes homes homes homes) interspersed with grainy black and white footage that is headache inducing.Perhaps the scene that most clearly represents the DEEP HURTING involves J10’s attempts to strangle a drug dealer using (what appears to be) a shoelace. Now, while I appreciate the attempts to add a bit of realism by not having the recipient die immediately, this scene goes on a full seven minutes. Just grainy, unwatchable footage of a body jerking around while someone in the background screams “CHOKE THAT MOTHERFUCKER, HOMES! CHOKE HIM! CHOKE HIM, HOMES!”. It goes on for so long that it *almost* becomes amusing, because your brain can’t quite process how anyone thought this was a good idea. For most viewers of HIP HOP LOCOS, this is where their personal breaking point occurs.

I can’t even imagine how this film even managed to scrounge up this level of distribution as it looks like something put together over a weekend to entertain (??) some friends of the cast. Oddly, despite the title and central plot, there isn’t even any Hip Hop music on the soundtrack; just the occasional synthesizer beat behind awful, repetitive dialogue notably featuring the words “homes!”, “la raza!” and “eh?” in various combinations. At a couple of points Unodoz attempts to freestyle a portion of the plot, which only convinced me that he must have some sort of learning disability to come up with such weak rhymes. There were more than a few moments where I actually thought I might be going mad, as scenes began to blend together and repeat in a weird haze of cheap video effects and murky driving footage.

Photography is strictly a point and shoot affair, with minimal editing. Barely visible color footage of our two intrepid heroes gives way to black and white footage of them wandering around in the dark, usually repeating the dialogue that was said in the previous color footage. Sound is generally clear, but i’m not sure that’s a benefit.

I don’t usually like to warn people away from films, as I realize when it comes to badness that quality becomes a very subjective thing. However, I feel confident in saying that there is no way that any reasonable person would get even the smallest bit of entertainment value out of HIP HOP LOCOS. The credits feature director Lorenzo Munoz Jr.’s (who also happens to star as Unodoz) name over and over in likely the most misplaced show of ego the film world has ever seen.

Fucking awful.

Five Nightmares out of Five

 

One Nightmare – No-Budget Perfection, Two Nightmares – Shocking Success, Three Nightmares – Shows Potential, Four Nightmares – Not Much Fun, Five Nightmares – Please Kill Me

 

Join us this week for an EXTRA SPECIAL podcast featuring Daily Grindhouse contributor Moe and myself talking about HIP HOP LOCOS.

 

Sweetback

 

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Doug Tilley

Doug has been a geek for as long as he’s been alive, but has only been blogging about film since 2008; originally writing for his personal site and eventually moving to Daily Grindhouse where he writes regularly about micro-budget films and film-makers in his No-Budget Nightmares column. At the end of 2011 he started the popular No-Budget Nightmares podcast with Moe Porne, and regularly contributes to a variety of other genre film podcasts. He likes movies, movies and movies.

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